Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sick Clark's New Year's Rawkin' Eve!!!

Themb, naahin, eeeahifht, sssifffevplhegm, axe, ffligheve, floor, t-t-t-thee, oohnnt, un!!!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

I'm Just Starstruck On You

A rocket age.
It's nobody's fault.
I hear them all
sing Katyusha whistle
and ring, ring the rage.
Ring the rage
dragging the martyrs
all over the set.
Slit by the heels,
my awareness
gets dragged
and dragged around
circles of autumn cannibalism.
Internecine ejaculations
of heated discourse
shell fragmented offal
dance around the radio,
flicker in the monitor,
scroll across the television
I just stare at it all.
I must be looking for
some kind of comfort
in all of it.
Something certain
beyond awareness
that never explains anything.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


When it gets like this
I like to pull my furry hat 
down over my eyes
and wait until I wake up 
in someone else's dream
maybe yours.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Perpetual Summer

The Principal of my middle school was a broad shouldered, rumbly voiced guy named Mr. Zurfluh.  He used to pace up and down the courtyard during lunch like a yard boss, breaking up groups of homogenous black or white boys in hopes of avoiding any race baiting and fights.  Looking back, it really was like prison. Pioneer Middle School was laid out like a penitentiary, with close-walled common spaces and red brick breezeways that connected the classrooms, gym, cafeteria and office.  The school was evenly divided between white and black students.  While instances of outright racism were few, there were eternal struggles about which was cooler; rock or soul, Prince or Journey, Members Only or San Francisco Riding Gear - sometimes coming to violence.  Mr. Z was really in his element there.  I believe he did indeed see himself as a warden. Year round, he wore these wool, three piece suits that felt like horsehair sandpaper whenever he got you in a headlock for a quick trip to the office.  For me, these trips were thankfully infrequent.

I got to know Mr. Zurfluh a bit during my middle school prison stay.  His intrusive strolls around the courtyard provided plenty of opportunities for conversation.  He had a sly sense of humor and could be pretty self deprecating at times.  Mr. Z didn't retaliate when I made cracks about snow in the forecast while pointing to his jacket collar.  This was quite a contrast from my initial impression.  I suppose the authoritarian Mr. Zurfluh was more his response to the immediate environment and the avuncular Mr. Zurfluh was probably closer to his civilian self.  His favorite movie was Patton.  I used to amuse him by doing George C. Scott imitations during lunch.  He'd chuckle and give me one of those knock-the-wind-out-of-you pats on the back with his giant, bear paw hands.

Mr. Z held down that Principal spot at Pioneer Middle School for a year after I went on to high school.  During the year that I left, his pregnant daughter was stabbed to death while closing up the Safeway near the community college.  Everybody in town knew about her murder within hours.  Steilacoom was a pretty small town and for some reason I never came to understand while my family lived there, very insular.  It seems odd that it was, considering it bordered the very large McChord Air Force base and the vast Fort Lewis Army Reservation.  Mike Loverick's sister broke the news about the Zurfluh death.  She got it straight from Mike, who worked at the Safeway with Mr. Zurfluh's daughter.  He drove a blue metal flake Trans Am and his family had a swimming pool tucked away behind their colonial revival styled home.  Mike's sister thought I was lame and gross so most of this information was stuff I gleaned from her constant loud babble during study hall. The stupid part of me was really jealous of the Lovericks.  How come the accident of birth stuck me with my hardscrabble lot instead of with these suburban Gatsbys?  Life for the Lovericks seemed to me like perpetual summer.

About a week after the murder, I came home from school to find the neighborhood filled with local news trucks and cops.  They were all massed down the street around the Loverick house.  Mike Loverick did it, I was told by my little sister, who walked right past their house on the way home from Pioneer.  They found the knife and the money in his room.  Mike worked as a shelf stocker at Safeway and was on the schedule the night of murder.  He later confessed to stabbing the soon to be mother to death when she caught him stealing money from a strongbox.  Needless to explain, this created quite a tempest in our town.  

Mr. Zurfluh was destroyed by his daughter's death.  He resigned from his post at Pioneer and took a year off.  He took up a position under the Superintendent at the high school and I would run into him occasionally in the halls.  He was always quietly soused.  These encounters were awkward.  I would do little scenes from Patton and Mr. Z's eyes would get red rimmed and wet.  He was in perpetual darkness. 

When I was a senior, I wound up at a keg party in the house of Marion Manlove (yes, that's her real name), who was close friends with Mike Loverick's sister.  This was one of those parties you wind up at after a night of driving around bored with friends, looking for a joint.  On a medicine cabinet raiding mission to the bathroom I chanced to hear these two girls prank calling the Zurfluh house on a cordless phone, "Hello, is this Mr. Zurfluh?  Well, we got your daughter, you're next."  Some people live in perpetual darkness and some in perpetual summer.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Thanks Be For The Furry Hat

Thank you for this furry hat I set upon my head.  
I wearing all the more and some, quite even in my bed.  
This cheerful flap and buckle that 'tis fitting to a tee.  
Now I cannot imagine one as strapping grateful me!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Dream/Jimmy Silva

I just woke up
from this eerie dream.
There was a soccer pitch
upon which I tried 
to put together a game
of pick-up football.
The people milling about
were diffuse and mumbling.
It was hard 
to get a good look 
at any one of them.
I cussed about the fog
and realized it was clear,
they were clouded.
These people
seemed quite diverse,
not only in where they came from
but when they came from.
They spoke in rivers of babble.
After a few failed attempts 
to throw the football,
they all moved off the pitch
down a narrow road
towards an old hotel.
Okay, I'll follow.
The hotel was laid out 
in a quadrant of buildings
all overlooking 
a manicured lawn.
At one corner,
between the once stately
white columned structures
was a gaping mouth 
to a tree tunnnel.
Without anyone specifically
mentioning it
I knew we were there 
to look for a little girl.
I followed an inuit guy around
as he moved through the suites,
then a hippie woman wearing a sari
and finally went down to the lawn
behind a brush pilot type 
smoking unfiltered Lucky Strikes.
On the lawn
I could see down the tree tunnel.
The oaks that composed it were 
hundreds of stories high.
Christ, how'd I not notice that?
Drawing up to the mouth
I looked down it's leafy throat
and got deep shivers 
of weird electricity.
Something primal inside me
was urging me away 
from this path.
Turning around
I noticed the lawn had filled up
with these faded folk
all milling about
like a garden party 
of somnambulists.
A great murmur 
came from the tree tunnel
and I began to see people 
trickling forth on to the lawn.
The little girl had been found
in one of the rooms.
How the hell do I know that
when nobody here talks to me?
Somehow I knew her name.
I'd heard it mentioned on television.
She lived in the southeast.
Not anymore.
At that point,
I had a very strong feeling
I was about to see an old friend
coming out of that tree tunnel.
He hasn't been around 
since that night,
December 23, 1994.
Jimmy's gonna show up here
among these flickering souls.
That's when I woke up
tingling from head to toe.
I just missed you Mr. Silva
but I sing your songs 
each passing day.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Burnt Kabob

We're pretty well snowed in here.
Getting a lot of reading done.
Here's a poem from the sufi sheikh Rumi
I like...

Burnt Kabob

Last year, I admired wines. This,
I'm wandering inside the red world.

Last year, I gazed at the fire.
This year, I'm burnt kabob.

Thirst drove me down to the water
where I drank the moon's reflection.

Now I am a lion staring up totally
lost in love with the thing itself

Don't ask questions about longing.
Look in my face.

Soul drunk, body ruined, these two
sit helpless in a wrecked wagon.
Neither knows how to fix it.

And my heart, I'd say it was more
like a donkey sunk in a mudhole,
struggling and miring deeper.

But listen to me: for one moment,
quit being sad. Hear blessings
dropping their blossoms
around you. God.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Priori Proof

The grandeur and awe
of the Virgin's Dormition and Assumption
in to the arms of the Son,
entering the house with great sound,
with Peter at the head 
and John at the foot
of the deathbed
is rendered in record as fantastic manifest.
I set it up in my mind's own canvas
knowing the ecclesiastic canon of the Gospels
calls for at least six pictorial representations.
It always comes out overly surreal
even campy
but I have faith
that the story has true power
as the Canterbury Ontologicalists
like to say
the inspiration for it all 
is something than which nothing greater 
can be conceived.
The greatness is limitless.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Watching It Fall

I love it when it snows!
There's a fookin' igloo down the street.
We're going sledding
We're making snowballs and snowfolk.
We're staying out late and watching it fall.
Staying out late and watching it fall.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Passing by the Stars

I walk the dogs
with a 9 year old named Lili.
She sees walruses in autumn piles of leaves
and signals her conditions 
with a white leaf.
She has a song 
she would like me to share with you;

Passing by the stars
two in a row
on the way to the moon,

Passing by the stars
three in a row
on the way to the moon,

Passing by the stars
four in a row
on the way to the moon.

until you get to 10 in a row. 
-LKI 2008

It's very catchy, I think.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Diodes of Light

From this porch
atop the steam vent clouds
from a cup of whiskey tea;
everywhere, wintergray is made white
by this glorious sum of snow.
And later down hockey rink streets,
among plantation cotton-ball blossoms of ice
hammock-hung in the cradles of woodbrush,
we moon hop slowly to the store -
vested in heavy wool,
pinched by cold clear air,
and sung to by slipping bus tires
to get a cookie cutter 
and wax paper.
On the way home
the sun is a blinding yellow ice-cube
low in the south sound sky.
It looks like a pupil 
contracted between lid-fronts
of blue black arctic air.
Even at night 
the darkness pales 
in blankets of claustrophobic coldquiet.
My hands feel dry and old
under the floor lamp's heat
down here 
along the mopbucket sponge floorboards.
When December comes I stay inside,
with the heater constantly on,
clearing away the dust, 
and staring out the window
at frost never thawing 
bathed in Christmas colored 
diodes of light.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Watch The Footwork Baby

For Christ's sake, come on.
Watch the footwork, baby.
Watch it.
Come on.
If you want it you can get it.
Pick it up.
Pick it up, come on and get it.
It's free.
Watch the footwork, baby.
Come on.
Come on.
If you want it you can get it.
You can get it if you want it.
Dig it.
Dig it?
Forget it.
Watch the footwork, baby.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I Make The Fog

Eleventeen years in a master tape box
Tracks of vocals
Tracks of drum
Tracks of feedback
Tracks of tears.
I’m pulling them out in splices
To build a picture.
A picture of a lake.
Every night
I come to the bank of the lake.
The bank of the lake
Is the bank of the fog.
The fog I am in.
There are no distances.
Space is all singular.
All of the round rocks
Under my bare feet
Are robin’s egg spotted blue
And woodgrain ribboned brown.
You can peel back the water edge
And turn the covers of the lake bed.
I lay down
I don’t need a melody here
To paint the lake edge in sound.
What is needed
Should be random
And appropriated
From the formerly meaningful.
I’ll run the sad falsetto backwards
Over epic soundtrack snaredrum
Struck dumb with tapespeed.
I make the fog
And the still lake bed
From these disembodied expressions
Of former feeling.
I make the fog
So that everything I do is clear
To me.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Ron Nasty: 10 09 1940 - 12 08 1980

We miss you, Ron.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Evening Wear Migration

There's this thing 
you see down wet December streets
on cold saturday and sunday mornings.
A woman walking in heels like stilts,
shivering in a cocktail dress
all darting raccoon eyes and rum perfumed
making her way home 
from the holiday party
and the drinking 
and the dancing
and a pick up night 
in a strange bed.
Dana calls it The Walk Of Shame.
I don't see shame in that walk.
I see narcissism hung over.
They clack clack the sidewalk with bleary resignation 
cross-examined by daylight.
Channels of memory
replay last night's sophistication
lost in smears of lipstick 
and tequila.
The evening-wear migration ends
up the steps and through the door
in a hot shower and breakfast later with friends
dressing events in whole cloth 
of indiscretion and bravado.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Junior and Senior

Joel told me that Junior was the owner's youngest son. He was being groomed to take over the T-shirt wholesale operation when Senior retired. Senior was reluctant to turn over the reins of business to Junior. He was definitely your classic example of a wastrel cruising through life on his father's coattails. He bleached his balding hair that hung past the collars of his awful Hawaiian shirts. Junior even sported a gold razor blade on a chain which sat parked in a hedge of chest hair on his exposed torso. I often heard Senior shouting at his son to button up that fucking shirt because will call pick ups might mistake him for a pimp. Junior did a lot of illegal things but pimping wasn't one of them as far as I knew.

On occasion, Junior would give me the keys to his Chevy Suburban and instruct me to take the behemoth to Brown Bear car wash for a thorough fucking cleaning. I could keep any of the thumb sized buds of smelly marijuana I found but any baggies of cocaine were to be rendered unto Junior. These thorough fucking cleanings occurred before his ski trips to Canada. I made extra cash selling the bud nuggets to Joel and Phil back at the warehouse. Senior did not like us because we were too buddy buddy with Junior. He used to sneer at us when he came through the warehouse and call us RollingBeatles. Once while sleeping off a hangover in the back of a semi container we were unloading, Joel revealed that there was a second son who was not senior or junior or major or minor. Apparently he was a successful dentist in town. When I asked why he wasn't being courted to take over the warehouse when Senior called it a day, I was told that he was queer. Senior could tolerate a lot of things; drunkenness, sloth, minor thievery, gambling addiction (it was Junior who first showed me how to read the Daily Racing Form), womanizing, even gross mismanagement, but he could not even for a moment of his life of simmering resentment and anger entertain the idea of turning over the company he built moldy cinder block by moldy cinder block to a faggot.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

They Never Look You In The Eye

The Great Leap Forward;
scene one revolutionary foco irregulars
immolate and collectivize the bystanding
standing in the center 
where your eyes never settle.
Hey you!
Powerman who sells me the same old story.
What vanguard is addressed in your vision,
ever navigating the general will
towards enlightened delusions
of virtue
constituted in blood tributaries
of those who must be sacrficed
to The Spirit of The Laws?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

No Ambition For Dry Pivot

The white man says walk.
The red hand says stop.
We square step with a broom
and two dance with a mop.

I miss my friends; 
the stand up bass
and upright piano
when they play 
I'll listen and follow.

Inside the basement wood joist ribs
of the old century leviathan 
sounding deep under waves of memory
I finally understand.

The headlights in the rain
are flashlights searching for meaning
in place and time.

I however have no destination.

I'm up here,
north of the oil tar skeleton
of the coal Gas Works,
west of the wayward girl-ghosts
of Good Shepherd Center,
yards from the fifty foot explosion
of big leaf maple
and the nicotine stained windows
of the doll-maker's house.
You can find me
with a needle and lodestone,
no ambition for dry pivot
staring at magnetic north.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

An Urban Bestiary

Down the street
up in the buildings
under the avenues
in tunnels of transit
I am always surrounded
by the beasts of the city.
There are bears in the Capitol Hill bars,
snakes in the banks of Fifth Avenue,
dead foxes on old hens
browsing in the windows
of the West Edge.
Rats scurry in every shadow
from Aurora Avenue North
to White Center
(why do you think
they call it "Rat City?").
Cows block the doors
of busses in the Third Avenue transit corridor.
Chickens hide from tavern bulls
in tepid coffee shops
abutting slaughterhouse shopping malls
where the barnyard sleepwalks
single file
past the ringing tills
of the abattoir cash register.
Better watch out.
Young packs of wolves
roam far and wide
slashing at the old and infirm
with impunity
while pigs in penguin cars
sit safely parked
in suburban drive throughs.
This little worm
is gonna find a soft patch
of cold compost
and run silent
and deep,
like a dirt submarine.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Full Retreat

I fall back
from the front
in complete disarray
and teeth chattering confusion.
Shell fragments 
of general ledger flak bursts
lodge in the holes of my eyes
trailing white collar cordite smoke
behind me in the ambivalent wind.
I fall back
all the way to hopelessness
and infant panic
through high rise mausoleums
filled with filing cabinet tombs.
In the dark
I seek out the bright white mouth
of a florescent parking garage's
empty stomach.
Just a nothing place 
to hide in the bright dead light
and finish drinking
tiny bottles of white hot
black ink.
Just a place to go 
to be gone
and sit with failure.
The first thing you have to learn here
is that you're already dead
and that there's no place like home
because there's no place like home.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Electric Laundryland

Last Sunday.
Walking south towards the bakery
on Wallingford
I saw this.
Old hippies 
had been living in the Apex Cleaners building.
They put up posters of Jimi Hendrix 
in the plate glass windows.
They put a Hendrix quote 
on the reader board,
"Blues is easy to play but hard to feel."
Somebody got up there 
and did a little bit of editing.
"Sleasy butts feel hard,
buy poo."
I am pleased.

Friday, November 14, 2008

six six six

All change comes
in modesto sun soaked wrinkles
pushed into 
wheat straw symphony folds
of highway foothills.
Nothing town 
on Salton Sea shore;
in cuts of long range focus
and letterbox quick close-up,
he steam engine idles 
through the pine board set
of the town.
Arriving fingered 
in the lux nova
of sun squint eyes,
he trails out kelp bed curls
of black dust wake disturbance.
Mistrust and awe
settle in greasy white pores
of parade route spectators
who had it so good
until their complexion went dim.
The shit's piled up in the breeze.
The lightning struck the pine.
We've all got a little disease.
All change is here.
It's nothing new.
Everybody's concubine 
is on the nod
and turning blue.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Lunar November

Up here
the snare drum
of the fishtank night
is the oil can bulletstrike
of the shipyard rivet gun
on hollow trawler hull.
The wind pounds its way north
up from the bay
through the re-grade
into the deciduous Sunnyside old growth.
Every sidewalk is a gyre
of dead leaves falling through
rot stains of concrete leaf memory.
I can't look down
or I'll forget how to fly
and fall through the maple root cracks
of the sidewalk.
Swaying curtains of rain
flamenco skirt in jaundiced beams
of cascade streetlight.
The edges of the day
that ooze out the tread marks
of the commuter bus tired
under my footsteps
and the gurgling asphalt
are stained with deep space
and howling darkness.
And now I've just heard
we might replace the moon.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The I Formation

It feels good 
to open the valves
on the AC-30 
in the stripper's basement
where four knives are mic-ed
and cut sheet metal circles
out of the ride cymbal ripple.
We've got twenty five years
of quarter inch Belden cable.
We have thousands of minutes
of meetings 
with Les Paul 
and his Celestion Greenback Speakers
logged in the books.
We've got Nixon nailing a split,
electroshock hospital jingles,
The Golden Age of Larry King,
Fender precision,
Herschel Walker's multiple personality disorder,
I-Formation,  fullback offset weak side
and sixteen tracks.
Down in the basement 
out of your earshot
playing loud rock and roll
and rock and roll and rock and roll
is a knockout baby.
It took years
to find the craft in our hands
and the ring in our heads
to know a good thing right.
Sorry people,
this next one is just for the band
and this next one,
and this next one,
and this next one. 

Friday, November 7, 2008

Rain Turning Into Showers

Listen I get up
in the morning's twilight.
The Sybil of Cumae
on channel 13
promises rain
turning into showers.
The Oracle of Delphi
on channel 4
forecasts a long commute.
Autumn's play of leaf fall
carpets the sidewalks
and storm drains
in slick sheets of rot.
No matter where I go
the sound of water,
snaredrum rolling on metal,
follows me.
Away from the streets
and the tired expressions
of the city's worker bees,
the wildwood ground
soaks up the winter
in dark shades of green and brown.
I'll take you there.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Platform Rocker

When I was a kid
rockstars weren't politicians.
When I was a kid
rockstars came from space.
Everything they touched
peeled off petals of dull platitudes
and exposed glitter flashes of munificence
in struck fields of stage-lit faces.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Tuba Man

Five kids
gang banging on Mercer Street
beat the living shit 
out of The Tuba Man
one October Saturday night.
He died a week later.
The Tuba Man 
played in the street,
usually in front of 
a ball game
the opera.
I once asked 
if he could hit 
a low C
on my way into
a Mariners game.
He hit it.
The Tuba Man was like The Ramones;
you couldn't conceive a world without them.
But now, we have to.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


I used to work on Capitol Hill,
fixing greasy tape decks
in a basement 
filled with solder smoke
and forklift exhaust.
This guy named Corey
used to come into the shop
with rare bootleg vinyl 
to sell for crack
when he came up short
between paydays.
I picked up a lot of good stuff
and fed his habit
with currency
he turned into
little off-white rocks
he liked to burn
deep into his 
stained glass lungs.
Urban alchemy.
They called him 
the Warehouse Rodent.
Jibb and Fish 
said he looked like a yeti
with his coarse beard
and missing teeth.
His smile 
looked like a 6-7-10 split.
I thought he looked like
Ben Gunn 
from Treasure Island.
Cory used to call me Hitler
over warm swill beers
in the back of the Comet Tavern,
the blackened pancreas of the city.
I never knew why.
Cory used to come to Model Rocket gigs
and request Back to the Beanstalk.
He knew it was about him
and his addiction.
He loved it,
the song and his addiction.
Cory finally got shit-canned
for throwing a pry bar 
at the warehouse manager.
He disappeared 
into the dark, wet guts of the city.
We're all 
slowly getting digested here.
I saw him 
one early summer morning
after a long summer evening.
I was coming up for air
from the Sunset basement speakeasy.
He was with some faded transients
gathered for a parley
behind a rancid dumpster.
I boozily called out his name
and gave him a surprised hug.
He smelled like shit and ammonia.
"You better get out of here.
This ain't any kind of place for you."
That's all he said.
I don't think he recognized me
in the small dead hours of the morning.
For some reason,
he came into my thoughts 
while riding on a bus 
going up the Battery Street Tunnel
into the city.  
The exhaust stained tile
of the tunnel's interior
reminded me of villi
in a small intestine.
Cory's been consumed,
digested and expelled as waste,
passed through the Battery Street Intestine,
right out the Alaskan Way Colon,
through the Harbor Island Anus
into to the rainbow slick of Elliot Bay.
We're all slowly being digested here.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Seizure of Montezuma

A little bit from something I’ve been reading that Gee-Flipps loaned me. I can’t stop thinking about the Aztec Empire’s ride on Fortuna’s Wheel. Empires all seem to go in this direction sometime, don’t they? Monarch to organ grinder monkey in a fortnight. Sometimes it ain't good to be the king...

The events recorded in this chapter are certainly some of the most extraordinary on the page of history. That a small body of men, like the Spaniards, should have entered the palace of a mighty prince, have seized his person in the midst of his vassals, have borne him off a captive to their quarters,- that they should have put to an ignominious death before his face his high officers, for executing, probably, his own commands, and have crowned the whole by putting the monarch in irons like a common malefactor, -that this should have been done, not to a driveling dotard in the decay of his fortunes, but to a proud monarch in the plenitude of his power, in the very heart of his capital, surrounded by thousands and tens of thousands, who trembled at his nod, and would have poured out their blood like water in his defense,-that all this should have been done by a mere handfull of adventurers, is a thing too extravagant, altogether too improbable, for the pages of romance! It is, nevertheless, literally true. Yet we shall not be prepared to acquiesce in the judgments of contemporaries who regard these acts with admiration. We may well distrust any grounds on which it is attempted to justify the kidnapping of a friendly sovereign, -by those very persons, too, who were reaping the full benefit of his favors.

William Prescott; The History of the Conquest of Mexico, 1843

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My First Guitar Lesson

Pat Reilly gave me his copy of Tommy, by The Who. His mom, a practicing Catholic, forbade him from playing it in the house. He let me keep it on the condition that he could come by and listen to it whenever he felt the urge. Pat didn’t just want to listen to it though, he wanted to play air-drums to the entire four sides of vinyl. In addition and as part of the album lending arrangement, I was to accompany him on tennis racket during his furious drum work outs. Pat Reilly was bigger than me and most of my runty middle school chums. He pretty much got his way but I didn’t mind because he was riotously funny. He once got up in front of our advanced placement literature class in sixth grade and gave a spontaneous alternate ending to The Hobbit, hoping to pass it off as his book project. It had something to do with the dragon Smaug eating all of the gold under the mountain and then drowning in the lake because he was too heavy to fly. Bilbo and the dwarves had to go up his ass in a magic submarine to retrieve the gold. He didn’t get credit but he did get a passing grade when he did a presentation on acne and used me as his model. Just as in the Tommy lend-lease agreement, my issues and concerns about the project were not addressed. During our air band performances, Pat would sit on the headboard of my bed, chopsticks in hand and lead me through the the rapid fire progressions of stuttering drums and power chords. When I began windmilling slashing at my Wilson tennis racket, he corrected my technique, advising me to stum upwards instead of coming down at the ‘strings’. He told me that’s how Pete Townshend did it so he didn’t lose the pick or mess up his hands (he was right. It sounds better that way too). The one thing I felt bad about concerning Pat and our air band rock opera performances was that I never told him I had a cheap Gibson Les Paul Jr. copy and a Peavy Backstage 30 amplifier in the closet. I was afraid of what he might make me do if he found out.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Good Thing Right

Dear nobody...

The first time 
I realized that I 
play the guitar
and it 
does not play me
was this morning.
I awoke 
fingering an E chord
an index finger hammer-on
while my hand cradled
her sleeping wrist.
That's a good thing right. 

Monday, October 27, 2008

Value Free

That old house on 11th where my friends and I lived in the confused past had a few names. The two that stand out to me were “The Boy Scout House” and “Bedlam.” “Bedlam” was the name that stuck. H-ward painted it backwards right below the address numbers on the front porch of the off-white barn. At times, up to seven of us lived in the maze of inexpertly remodeled rooms thrown up inside its early 19th century frame. To the outsider, it truly was a bunch of boy scouts living in bedlam. To the insider it truly was a bunch of bad scouts living in bedlam. Something was always going on. There always is when you have that many people trying to exist in the same space. Unfortunately, the elephant’s share of what happened there rarely involved cleaning or general upkeep. At that age, nobody can be concerned with picking up after themselves let alone preserving the roof over their heads. Bedlam even had its own boat! That’s right, the Bedlam Intruder. I was house sitting for my parents one summer when the UPS man mistakenly dropped off a large bulky package on their doorstep. The address on the package had an SE when my ‘rents resided on an SW. Being a little more “value-free” and “rational choice” driven back then, I loaded the box into Truck Truck #1 and drove it back into the city. Once at Bedlam, we opened the package and discovered a three person, inflatable raft. The Bedlam Intruder was christened, inflated, filled with beer and taken ten blocks north to Greenlake where we embarked on our maiden voyage. The only wrinkle in our plan of the day was that there were five of us and the raft could only hold three. It was a hot summer day so we took turns splashing around outside the raft in the water. Everybody took turns in the drink except for G-flipps. He kept delaying until he was practically shoved in. As he went over the edge into the lake, he stuttered something about not being a strong swimmer. He went in right over the top of me as I tread water next to the raft. Subsequently, I went under the green, soupy waves like a plastic bobber struck by an angry lake trout as G-flipps death clutched my feet and legs. It was like he was trying to use me as some kind of ladder so he could hurtle himself out of the lake and into the sky like a human Polaris missile. My roommates always seemed to put themselves into harm's way at Greenlake. Peat-Rich nearly severed his toe trying to jump off a dock one moonlit summer night. I think that was the same night Johnno and I were walking home cutting through some condos and I fed a lawn sprinkler through an open window by an attached garden hose. Sure enough, the light came on about four or five seconds after I turned on the water. Bulls-eye, we hit the master bedroom. Like I said, things were a little more “value-free” in my late teens.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Whiteness of The Whale

On the way home tonight
I chanced to see
the ghosts of barefoot girls
dancin' in the moonlight
in between the Green River rocks
smug with slime,
lust and helplessness,
desire and control.
Something up here
drains the truth 
out of the sun
and fills our pale bodies
with the coldest aspect.
Mark my words
because each one of them
is a grave.
In Aurora Avenue gray
the highway skirts
the ridge ways of
cheap trick nihilism.
Something in the moss 
that prom dress blankets
the rotting ground 
river running along the black bed
burns the cold air
and everything it breathes 
white hot.
Up here,
the dead, the living, and I,
ascend numbly into the brutal opaque,
knowing full well he wrote,
"It was the whiteness of the whale 
that above all things appalled me."